Maybe you were inspired by a tank at a friend's house, or maybe it was hours spent on YouTube or Instagram admiring beautiful tanks. Regardless of why you have chosen to get into this amazing hobby you have made a great decision! The first thing that every new reefer needs to decide is “what type of tank should I get”? As the hobby has exploded in popularity in the past decade there are countless types of tanks for new hobbyists to choose from. In order to simplify things we will look at the 3 main things reefers consider when choosing a tank: Size, shape and style.
Any quick google search will turn up a wide variety of advice on the best sized tank for new reefers. Some will say “buy the biggest tank you can afford” while others suggest “smaller tanks are better for beginners because they are cheaper to set up and stock”. Like many things in this hobby there really is no correct answer. While it is true that a larger tank will be more forgiving of mistakes due to a large water volume they are more expensive to set up and fill with livestock and new hobbyists may find them a little bit overwhelming. On the other hand, nano tanks (generally tanks less than 30 gallons) are less expensive and can be filled with corals for far less cost. The downside of smaller tanks is that they are more susceptible to fluctuations in water parameters. A good option that combines the lower cost of a smaller tank with a larger water volume is the Waterbox Aquariums 35.2.
The second question that needs to be answered when choosing a tank is what shape tank is best for me? While tanks are now available in an almost endless variety of shapes such as lagoons, cylinders and dropoff style tanks, the best choice for most new hobbyists is either a cube or classic rectangular tank. These options provide maximum flexibility for creating aquascapes and also have enough surface area to allow for efficient gas exchange. While it may be fun to experiment with non-traditional tank shapes down the road, keeping it simple is the best advice for a first tank.
The last consideration is whether or not to purchase a complete system with a sump, or an All in One (AIO) aquarium. While models with a sump such as the Waterbox Marine X 110 offer maximum versatility, an AIO tank is generally the best choice for new reefers. With this type of system, all the filtration and equipment is contained in the rear chamber, which makes setup and maintenance far simpler and virtually eliminates the possibility of leaks. Most All in One systems come with an appropriately sized return pump and some, like the Red Sea Max Nano, also include a reef ready light to get you started growing corals.
Choosing a first reef tank doesn’t have to be overwhelming, and by considering these three questions you will be well on your way to reefing success. Please reach out to us if you have any questions about choosing your first tank or upgrading your existing tank.